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Good Fountain Pen Paper
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I know I am teetering the line of 'self promotion' here, but since it's a relatively new forum here I wanted to just share with everyone about my paper journey. I started out as a pen maker, knowing nothing about writing or fountain pens. It wasn't until I wen to the DC Fountain Pen Supershow where it completely opened my eyes about the 'fountain pen community' (in general, not this forum specifically!). I decided to dive in head first into the fountain pen world, which led me to ink and paper. Through a number of what I believe to be divinely orchestrated events, I now deal in Clairefontaine, Rhodia, G. Lalo, Quo Vadis, and Exacompta notebooks, as well as J. Herbin inks. The same passion that led me into pen making has taken me to learn everything there is about paper and inks. That has also led me to my video blog called the Ink Nouveau, where I educate about these different fountain pen paraphernalia, as well as show their performance in practical use. Bottom line here is that I've found the paper and ink you use in your pens to be as important a contribution to your overall writing experience as the pen you have in your hand. Just something for you all to think about!

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In the 24 years that I've been using ink I have found that there is an amazingly large number of papers that will work well with fountain pens and tht just because it has a famous name does not mean it is a good paper.

I have for at least 5 years been preaching about the trinity ( paper, ink & pen) that make up the writing experience. That's why I find great humor in people dismissing Moleskine notebooks out of hand when it is only one of three.

I started using the general tablets found in Drugstores and stationary shops then moved up to Crane which is still a paper that I use.

I'd have to say that my all time favorite paper is Amalfi. But I also have been using Original Crowne Mill and Southworth 100% cotton lately.

To me the French papers are high priced and slick, a combination that I do not like much. Maybe one or the other in despiration for paper but never both.

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Plaquemine 182-01


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More power to you for finding great paper that satisfies your needs. By no means is the paper that I sell the only good paper out there! Clairefontaine paper by and large is very smooth....that's the point. Extremely smooth paper is hard to achieve, and that is one of Clairefontaine's shining qualities. I prefer smooth paper, but I know MANY people who do not. To each his own! I've heard good things about Amalfi (though it's somewhat hard to find) and Crown Mill, as well as some Southworth. Apica makes some decent paper, too. The thing is unless you 'happen' upon a low-price paper option that happened to get a good batch that's FP friendly (the next batch, maybe not so much), it's often hit-or-miss with cheaper papers. There are very few paper companies that cater to the fountain pen user community as it's such a small crowd, so fountain pen friendliness is most often a 'bonus' characteristic with paper brands. I heard somewhere that of all of the pen users out there, less than 1% are fountain pen users, not to mention all of the other uses for paper out there that don't involve fountains. It's not always exciting for people to buy and try notebook after notebook after notebook trying to find something that works with a fountain pen. It's also not exciting to hear about a great fountain pen friendly notebook that someone raves about online, you buy the same thing (coming from a different batch of paper) and having it not write well at all. The few companies that are out there that focus on making quality, consistent paper that is friendly to fountain pens do charge a premium, no question (and that's not just the French). However many people actually find value in the consistency and reliability of 'premium' paper products because they don't have to spend their time or money searching around for the 'unknown' brands. Everyone is different!

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GouletPens wrote:

More power to you for finding great paper that satisfies your needs. By no means is the paper that I sell the only good paper out there! Clairefontaine paper by and large is very smooth....that's the point. Extremely smooth paper is hard to achieve, and that is one of Clairefontaine's shining qualities.


That's not really the case as drafting vellum has been around for decades- not made by Lalo. The smoothness of the paper is determined by the process and there are cheaper versions than Lalo out there.



The thing is unless you 'happen' upon a low-price paper option that happened to get a good batch that's FP friendly (the next batch, maybe not so much), it's often hit-or-miss with cheaper papers. There are very few paper companies that cater to the fountain pen user community as it's such a small crowd, so fountain pen friendliness is most often a 'bonus' characteristic with paper brands.


That's a little insulting to paper manufacturers as the quality control necessary for inkjet friendly paper is the same for FP friendly paper.


I heard somewhere that of all of the pen users out there, less than 1% are fountain pen users, not to mention all of the other uses for paper out there that don't involve fountains.


That's an interesting number is there any data that you can point to?


It's not always exciting for people to buy and try notebook after notebook after notebook trying to find something that works with a fountain pen. It's also not exciting to hear about a great fountain pen friendly notebook that someone raves about online, you buy the same thing (coming from a different batch of paper) and having it not write well at all.


I think you've brought up one of the main FP urban myths in that it is always the paper that causes the problems. It is the combination of the pen, ink and paper along with writing style that are behind writing. Just because a paper does not behave well with one particular combination of the other 2 does not make it a bad paper. Moleskine seems to be the most hated notebook out there but I've been using them for years- randomly picking them up and had no problems.


The few companies that are out there that focus on making quality, consistent paper that is friendly to fountain pens do charge a premium, no question (and that's not just the French).


If these companies really are focused on FP users it seems to be they are lookin for a very small market (1%?). No I doubt they are doing that in fact it may be that they have not updated their equipment or processing for decades that allows them to make paper which happens to be good for FPs. These companies are focusing on different larger market and it just happens to overlap with good pen paper.



However many people actually find value in the consistency and reliability of 'premium' paper products because they don't have to spend their time or money searching around for the 'unknown' brands. Everyone is different!



Unfortunately the reliable premium paper isn't always that! I purchased some G. Lalo paper that was horrid to write with, I ended up throwing away the tablet and using the envelopes. Should I figure that is bad consistency or that G. Lalo is not reliable with FPs?

I the end people will buy & try and find useful paper.



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Plaquemine 182-01


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I'm really trying to be open and honest here, but it's hard for me to respond to you when you pick apart every sentence I write. I'll just make a general statement here: there IS a difference in quality of paper, pens, ink, and everything else in the world that can loosely be determined on price. However, it's never a steadfast rule that higher price means higher quality or satisfaction, which I think is your point. I agree. In the end, you need to just try everything out for yourself and determine what you like best.

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Brian Goulet
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GouletPens wrote:

I'm really trying to be open and honest here, but it's hard for me to respond to you when you pick apart every sentence I write. I'll just make a general statement here: there IS a difference in quality of paper, pens, ink, and everything else in the world that can loosely be determined on price. However, it's never a steadfast rule that higher price means higher quality or satisfaction, which I think is your point. I agree. In the end, you need to just try everything out for yourself and determine what you like best.



I did not intend my comments to be picky rather I was trying to discuss each point individually as you brought up a myriad of different things.


but your comment that "you eductate on these different things" does make me wonder as the line between promotion and education is sometimes thin.


It is unfortunate thatpaying more doesn't always mean getting better.

Please note thatI am always available as an unbiased consumer tester of any pen, ink or paper that is out there. Unvarnished scientific testing as well as witty opinions combined with photographs to make an enjoyable & informative read.



-- Edited by titivillus on Friday 30th of April 2010 01:24:57 PM

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Plaquemine 182-01


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I'm back! Sorry, I'd left FPC for a while because I was spread a little too thin and had to cut some things back. I'm back now though! I feel bad about the way this conversation left off.

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Seasoned

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Don't worry about this conversation. Good paper is one of those things that is a very personal matter and a particular type of paper that one person feels is excellent may not be for another. I know that there are many excellent smooth papers out there but I prefer a texture to show the ink. This does not mean that either the textured or smooth paper is really better but that both are good for FP writing.

A recent issue with Crane is also enlightening. I bought a pack of fold over notes ecrue with a silver border and found them to be too smooth and too thin for me to enjoy.

So for me there are types of paper that Crane makes which I do not like. It doesn't make it any worse paper but for me it is not.

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Plaquemine 182-01


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I agree with you, paper is as personal a choice as the pen, the nib, and the ink. It all gets stirred into the big pot that is the overall writing experience.

I had heard something about Crane that they were either cutting some of their line or changing it, or something like that. I've had a lot of people ask me about Crane, but I've never used any of it myself. What type of Crane is your personal preference?

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My favorite Crane paper is Newport blue half sheets with matching envelopes. But they stopped making it a few years ago when they changed their catalog to have more printed/ decorated cards. They have a similar although lighter blue in cards but not in the half sheets.

Original Crowne Mill is what I found after which has a darker blue half sheet pad that is my present paper along with some Strathmore Archival paper.



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Crown Mill is another paper I've heard a lot about for correspondence. It's no secret I deal with Clairefontaine and Rhodia, but they don't really have much in the way of correspondence paper. I get asked quite a bit about carrying Crown Mill and Crane's, I just haven't looked into it much yet. I'm not even sure if Crane's sells outside of their own website. Where do you find your Crown Mill?

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Seasoned

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I got my Crowne Mill from Kate's Papiere in NY and the latest pad from a store in Dallas. I know that Swisher sells it so there is internet hope!

If you sell Crowne as a texture paper you'd have a loyal buyer.

I've been writing on average 4 letters a week to various people so I burn through the paper.

There is also G. Lalo for another possible textured paper. Reasonably priced with some special packages that are useful.

Crane is nice but it seems to be everywhere and available in person many places.

Kurt

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Plaquemine 182-01


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I've heard good things about certain Strathmore paper too. I've seen that at Office Max (and I think Staples, too). How does that compare with the others?

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They have a resume paper that is very nice- smooth felt like surface. But it is best to open up the box and give it a check before buying.

K

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This is to be found over there if you are looking for some of the worlds worst pictures...well it beats my drawings.

ESSR ink and paper test 46 papers.
As a paper noobie, Id always said I was going to run 15 inks over 15 papers with 15 nibs..having run 17 nibs with one ink over 46 papers. I doubt if Im going to do the 15 cubed. It will be too much work. Cleaning 15 pens, 15 times is work. Then I'd use up all my ink. :headsmack:

Living in Germany, most of these papers are of course European, mostly German. There are four US papers. Crane, Eaton, Southworth, and Strathmore. Three are Spanish. One French (I did not have Rhoda nor Trioumph(sp). :embarrassed_smile: )

ESSR is a blue-Black ink that in most cases dried to a black or a nice black gray. Some papers it had a blue tingesome times I had to look real hard to see that. A couple of papers it was easier to see a blue tinge; a touch of blue. The last paper the Eaton showed a Blue-black; with hardly any black.

I am a paper noobie. I was sent a few sheets of this or that paper, and never used them, in I was waiting to gather up enough papers.

I thank everyone who was so nice to send me paper.

A few weeks ago, I finally went all over town looking for paper, and found some. I found less than I wished. Had I gone in the back room of my B&M Id found more paper, that was cheaper than the Rossler and Zerkall they had in the main room, in the stationary department. I do know where I can find some good paperand more importantly, they will order papers for me, or inks.

Zebra (Rex Office) was good papers bought at Aldi, a super market as a loss leader yearly sale action.

I used a 2.8x/7d/250 square magnifying glass. 4x 3 to check feathering. With out that, many papers would be sitting in different rating blocks.

How could my better papers be so lowly rated?
Magnified feathering or feathering in BB or BBL/OBB, the wide nibs.
Some of the Textured paper is lower rated because of feathering rather than what the writing joy would give it. I have found marbled paper to be very good.

Nit pickers paradise, I have to look at it magnified.
BEF= bare eyed feather; the sit there and look at the paper on the desk; not taking it close to the eye.
The back of the page was second in my rating to feathering. Echo = too faint to read. Show through = some of it can be read.On the vast majority of the paper there was no bleed through.

Good paper is real nice to write on. Normally I put that on the paper after 3-4 nibs, a yes, fun to write on, or causes ink to dance.

I did not do a smear test. There was not enough room with 17 nibs. And I did not think of it. :embarrassed_smile:

Two papers being compared under the magnifying glass, being moved to piles of similar feathering, then again and yet again. I shuffled paper I ended up with more piles than expected.

I find 90 g/24 pound better on the whole than 80g/22 pound, and 105/110 or 28/29 pound better than 90 of course. the 32 pound/120 g depends on it's texture. But there is no golden rule, some thinner paper is very good.

** are the papers I will try to photograph, and under magnification. I have picked out six. If you really want to see a paper that is not **, let me know with in the next day or so. I will try to make adequate pictures. So far Ive not been satisfied.
I dont own a scanner, now. Ive had two. They never did what I wanted them too do, and never will. I dont see buying one to put up ink scans.

First set #1.
**#1-1. My top paper was a great piece of 35-year-old unknown paper that was on a cheap pad, German by the size of itand unknown. I bought the pad way back when, in ball point days, and would not have spent much money on it.
There is show though, and no-BEFit writes like a dream, wonderful crisp lines in all widths and flexes. Murphy rules. I dont know which company to ask if they still make wonderful cheap fountain pen friendly paper, or even better.

**#1-2. paper is a Zebra 90 g multi colored pack of 10 colors of 25 each. Its a touch slow to dry, has Echo. Writes so well, and in ten colors from ivory to dark vivid red, green and blue and pastel shades in between. No-BEF. Next year I buy two packs of this paper. I had expected nothing from this paper. I bought it for the hell of it. It was that 'cheap' supermarket Aldi's year's loss leader sale in good papers.
#1-3. Surprised me in it is Brunnen. Brunnen feathers in lower weights. It is a marbled 120 g paper. It writes well, no show through and no-BEF.
#1-4. Zander Gohrsmuhl matt 110, good paper, has echo, no-BEF.
#1-5 Unknown 35 year old linen or laid 160-200 g writes well especially for texture paper. 100% no echo, no-BEF. Id saved that paper when I realized that was much too good to stick in an old Jukie Typewriter printer (pre-laser). It did not dawn on me to write with a fountain pen on it back in BP days.

Second setpapers #2 and #3.well number three was not good enough to be in #2 and not bad enough to be in #4.
#2-1 Conquer paper, which one I dont know, A nice poster sent me a sampling of it. A good paper, echo+, no-BEF.
#2-2 MK Papier Smooth with watermark 80 g. Writes well, show through, no BEF. (surprised it beat the 95 g. MK papier.)
#3-1 Rossler Laid 160 g Very picky to the nibCatches certain nibs; italic, Maxi-F, Semi-flex F, Maxi EF and regular XXFothers are fun to write with. Small echo, no-BEF. Yet it is fun with other nibs.

#4 set.
**#4-1 Zebra Marbled 90 g, good paper, no echo even on 90 gram paper, no-BEF. That cheap Aldi paper Ive mentioned before. Im so glad nowwhen I went back to buy more paper, only this was left over so I picked up a couple more packs.
#4-2 Spanish Oxford Optic 90 g = or better than Clairefontaine Velvet 90 g. good paper. Faint echo, no-BEF. Touch of blue. I have a small school booklet of it. And there is no one selling that in Heidelberg area. Ill have to order it by mail.
#4-4 Unknown laid 90 g good paper, show through, no-BEF. Touch of blue. Some one sent me 60 pages. I am glad to have this paper.
#4-5 Zander Gohrsmuhle 90 @ 15 years old. Show through, very small BEFgood paper.

Set #5.
#5-1 Zebra 90, Butten/hammer/verge Good paper, echo, no-BEF.
#5-2 Schoellenshammer drawing and painting #4 110 g, echo, no-BEF. It is unfair, Id ordered a sample pack and they sent the art pack and not the writers pack. I will get a sample pack from them, I hope. A good name in paper.
#5-3 Clairfontain Velvet 90 g. Very smooth, too smooth and this is not the smoothest of Clairfontain from what I read. There are a scatter through the 17 nibs did not write or did not write the full line. 5 nibs in all. One just dont use a trouble nib on this paper The other nibs are nice writing. Echo+, no-BEF. Not a paper for the nib limited.
#5-4 Zander 80 g matt, French Lilly XXX watermark from the 70s, more 35 year old paper Show through, no-BEF.
#5-5 Zander 90 g matt (modern), show through, no-BEF.

Set #6
**#6-1 MK Papier Typewriter/inkjet 95 g watermark good to write. Some show through, No-BEF.
#6-2 MK Papier gehammert/embossed white, writes good, show through, no-BEF.
#6-3 Zander Gohrsmuhle 80 g matt (modern) show through, no-BEF.
#6-4 Rossler 80 g Excellent paper pad, show through no-BEF. I bought three pads of Rossler of different names, all 80 g.
#6-5 Watermarked Japan Post Neuseidler 90? Good paper, show through, no-BEF.
#6-6 Rossler 100 g Laid.a hard paper to write on, show through, no-BEF. 0.30 a sheet.
**#6-7 Zerkall, 100 g, hand molded.Writes GREAT.why so low. It feathers, it has minor BEF. I dont care. This paper is well worth the 0.50 or $0.75 cents a page. It is a great pleasure to write on.
#6-8 Rossler 80 gram Brilliant Linen rough, skippy, some times nice. Better in wide nibs. Show through. BEF-yes. Partially because of the texture. . Was one of the three Rossler pads.

Set 7.
#7-1 Rossler 80 gram Butten/hammered/verge, good to write on. Show through. No-BEF. One of the three pads.
#7-2 Rossler 100 g cream, good paper Echo, no-BEF. (0.30 a sheet.)
#7-3 Crane 24 pound Parchmentspeckled, Small bleeding where some of the wet full flex nibs were, show though, OK-BEF.
#7-4 Southworth 32 pound..writes nicemild show through, no-BEF.
#7-5 Zander 80 G Gohrsmuhle (modern) show through, OK-BEF.
#7-6 Miguel Ruis Spanish laid 110/120, light show through, mild-BEF.
# 7-7 Galgo Verjurado Spanish 100% cotton laid, Echo yes-BEF Ivory


Set 8
#8-1 Zebra Linen structure 120 g, good for wide nibs. Echo, OK-BEF.
#8-2 Unknown (Ecology) laid recycled??? A paper for wide nibs, small show through, BB-only BEF.

#8-3 Crane 24 pound Bluten/Verge? Draggy small show through. Small BEF.

#8-4 Crane 24 pound, Laid? Echo, Small BEF.
#8-5 Brunnen 90 g Butten/hammered/verge chamois color, show through and yes-BEF
#8-6 Segma Priemum AAA? 80 g copy paper, feels better than expected, good (copy) paper. How ever. Bleed through, yes-BEF.
#8-7 Zebra 90 g laid, good paper, show through, BEF.
#8-8 Marmora 90 g beige, nothing special, middle heavy show through, yes-BEF.
#8-9 Avery Dennison/Zweckform 100 g laser copy paper.. Echo, yes-BEF. Not bad paper out side of that. I expected more. Ill have to get some HP 28 and 32 some time.

Set 9
#9-1 Strotmore pure 100% cotton 24-28 pound? Here and there a bit rough, not for every nib. Medium show though and yes-BEF.
#9-2 Daler Rowney 90 g Calligraphy paperdryShow through and yes-BEF.
9-3 Brunner 120 Butten/hammer/Verge, good paper, little show through, yes-BEF.
**#9-4 35 year old Eatons Corrasable typewriter paper 16 poundscost $1.05 back in the when. Bleed though, yes-BEF.
But great paper.it shows ESSR blue. I ran 8-10 inks over it before and they all shaded very well and it was such a pleasant surprise. I am glad I still got 40 pages of this left over. Very Blue with ERRS ink..
Odd that one of the papers I most like, is so bad. Its plus point vastly out weighs its many minus points.

There are a lot of good papers out there. There are few perfect papers.

If you have any questions, I'll try to answer them.
I will also be doing an ink review of ERRS soon.



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Check #9-1 of the previous post. Strathmore 100% cotton was not as good as I wished, rough on many nibs.



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WOW Bo Bo!

Got Paper?? LOL

Thanks for the reviews!

Frank

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Resurrecting an old thread here.

I just ordered an Original Crown Mill Classic Laid 5.75 x 8.25 Tablet & Envelope Set today from Brian Goulet. The only "quality" paper I had previously is some Howard Linen Writing from the local Kelly Paper store, as there doesn't seem to be a single real stationer within forty miles of me anymore. The Howard Linen isn't bad, but it feels a bit rough on fine nibs, and at 24 lbs you can only really use one side.

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Has anyone here ever tried Basildon Bond paper and envelopes? It is from the United Kingdom and I love it. I got mine while in Scotland but it may be available on line. I have no idea if it is actually sold outside of the U.K. It is extremely fountain pen friendly but has just enough tooth to it to give some nice feedback while writing. Their champagne (off white) brings out the beauty of many inks such as Diamine Grey, Diamine Syrah, Diamine Oxblood, Private Reserve Avacoda as well as others. If you can get your hands on some then I highly recommend it.



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I went through the painstaking project of trying a couple dozen kinds of paper. It made me realize all of the ink jet and laser jet papers bleed and are unsuitable. I finally found 28lb Strathmore 100% Cotton. Correct, it is not the smoothest, although it is smooth. All my pen nibs are really good and smooth and set to flow rates of 9.5 out of 10... 10 being Niagara Falls. The feel of the paper is wonderful, no bleeding, and a very slight tooth, make it my favorite. The extra weight gives is resilence very useful for Levenger rings. I buy reams, have it cut for all my Levenger stuff, and padded for a couple notebooks and cut to letter size. I'm not fond of the waxpaper like stuff. I do like the Amalfi Watermarked from Italy for the occasional letter. 



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